How to Cite a Standard in APA Referencing
  • 2-minute read
  • 6th September 2021

How to Cite a Standard in APA Referencing

Technical standards are documents that establish norms for processes and tasks in particular industries. And if you need to refer to one in a piece of academic writing, you’ll need to cite it correctly. But how does this work? In this post, we explain the basics of citing a standard in APA referencing.

Citing a Standard in APA Referencing

APA is an author–date referencing system, which means you cite sources by giving an author surname and a year of publication. For a standard, this means citing the issuing organisation and the year of issue. For example:

Even proofreading symbols are governed by technical standards (International Organization for Standardization, 2016).

You should always cite the name of the issuing organisation in full on the first citation. However, if you intend to cite or mention the same author frequently, you can add an abbreviation in brackets (either round brackets in the main text, or square brackets if the full name is first used in a parenthetical citation):

Coffee production is also regulated by international standards (International Organization for Standardization [ISO], 2005).

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has also set standards for processes such as coffee production (2005).

If you then mention or cite the same author, you can just use the abbreviation:

This process is governed by the same standard (ISO, 2005).

All standards you cite should also appear in your reference list.

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Adding a Standard to an APA Reference List

The basic format for a technical standard in an APA reference list is:

Issuing Organisation. (Year of Issue). Title of Standard (standard number). Publisher (if different from issuing organisation). URL.

So, for instance, the above examples would appear in a reference list like this:

International Organization for Standardization. (2005). Coffee and coffee products – Vocabulary. (ISO 3509:2005). https://www.iso.org/standard/34184.html

International Organization for Standardization. (2016). Graphic Technology – Symbols for text proof correction. (ISO 5776:2016). https://www.iso.org/standard/61838.html

As you can see, you do not need to use or give abbreviations in the reference list. Instead, you should write out the name of the issuing organisation in full every time.

Also, remember to include a hanging indent for all APA-style references.

Expert APA Referencing

We hope you now feel confident about citing technical standards in your work. If you would like an expert in APA style to check your referencing, moreover, we can help. You can even upload a sample document for free.

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